Mini JoyBinge #4
Hi and welcome to the fourth mini JoyBinge episode, where we will talk about good things to think about and encourage us for this week. My name is Kimmy Mauldin and I am excited to bring you a little dose of joy in the off week between news episodes. Let’s binge on some joy!
Lately I’ve been thinking quite a bit about finding passion, finding an activity or subject to pour attention, effort, and energy into. Throughout my own life, I’ve been interesting in a lot of different things: religion, Lord of the Rings, stories, painting, writing, gardening, acting, singing, crocheting, movies, tv shows, podcasts, the list could go on.
What always bothered me is that I didn’t have one singular thing that I was really passionate about. Nothing really stood out as a topic or interest I wanted to pursue with everything I have. Then it hit me. I don’t have to have just ONE passion. DUH. I can have a myriad of passions! Does this take away from the passion I feel? No! The word ‘passion’ is defined by the dictionary as “any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate.” For some reason I always thought that you had to only be passionate about one thing. How restrictive.
For someone who feels many emotions most of the time, it’s funny to me that I used to believe this. Why limit yourself to one thing when you can open yourself up to so many different possibilities? And now that we’ve settled this obvious realization, let’s ask ourselves how we find or develop such passions?
I found some interesting articles and blog posts about this subject. They are from several years ago when “Finding Your Passion” was a big topic. For some reason between 2010 - 2015 there was a big push online to find your passion, to create the dream job from your passion so you never have to work a day. It’s all a big load of poopy. In my search on this subject, I found a website by Mark Manson where he published a blog post called “Screw Finding Your Passion.” Brilliant. The post does contain profanity, just so you know, but it’s a great read. He talks about how people already know what their passions are, they are just ignoring them due to faulty priorities and expectations. He writes, “...the real truth is that you already enjoy something. You already enjoy many things. You’re just choosing to ignore them.”
Manson writes quite bluntly in this blog post which I believe is important for the search of passion. We need to take time to think about the things we enjoyed doing as children, what we spend our free time on now, what we find ourselves thinking about when we get distracted, what we wish we could spend our time on. Several years ago I realized I was quite unhappy in my career pursuing work in nonprofits. I had no idea what I wanted to do but I knew it wasn’t spending my time knowing I wasn’t good at my job and being stressed all the time. With heavy encouragement and reassurance from John, I quit. I got a job at a company that helps people design their own shirts because I knew this would keep me busy but also allow me enough free time to pursue understanding what I wanted to do next. It worked because I determined how I would spend my time before starting.
During this phase, either through slow times at work or during free time over evenings and weekends, I thought about the things I wish I was doing. If I could have the perfect life, what would I do? I realized I would want to travel, paint, write, and be in nature. I would want to act, speak several languages, and read a ton. I wanted to be involved in storytelling. I wanted to learn how to make books with illustrations for children and adults, I wanted to translate these stories into different languages, I wanted to sell them and use the money to support organizations helping people. I wanted to be part of stories and feeling alive in the world. But that’s a lot. I mean, how in the world could I start pursuing that in my late twenties? I felt like I was so far behind which kept me stuck in fear for a bit. Finally I got tired of that and decided the best thing to do was to take a class.
I picked three things in this list and decided to research classes in my area on those subjects. Whichever was cheapest and soonest, I would do. The three subjects out of the above list I chose were acting, painting, and learning Arabic. Through research, I found that acting and Arabic classes were the same price and would start at the same time. I didn’t know which to pick. So I decided to go with the one that excited me most and that was acting.
Even though I have been pursuing acting more since then and have all but abandoned pursuing Arabic and painting, I know that I can always go back to these other passions. In other words, I allowed myself freedom to do what I want with my own free time. Now I do have the luxury of living in a small household without children so I know that I am quite privileged when it comes to time. But don’t let that stop you! There are plenty of examples online of people with families pursuing their individual passions. Research them and see how they do that if this pertains to you.
Right now, I am thoroughly enjoying pursuing this podcast and streaming on Twitch. These are things I never considered before but through research and finding myself spending a lot of time listening to podcasts and supporting my friends on Twitch, I figured it was time to give them a try. And it’s been great! But it doesn’t have to be forever. Nothing we do has to be what we die doing. For some reason this is a hard lesson to learn.
Many people work jobs they don’t particularly love but don’t hate. They are free to enjoy the things they love when they aren’t working. Why this isn’t encouraged more these days is beyond me. This is how life is! We won’t love every aspect of any job, even if what we are doing is something we are passionate about. Manson wrote in his blog, “...every job sucks sometimes. There’s no such thing as some passionate activity that you will never get tired of, never get stressed over, never complain about. It doesn’t exist. I am living my dream job...and I still hate about 30% of it. Some days more. …If you think you’re supposed to wake up every single day dancing out of your pajamas because you get to go to work, then you’ve been drinking the Kool-Aid. Life doesn’t work like that. It’s just unrealistic. There’s a thing most of us need called balance.” It’s true. Nothing is perfect and that is what keeps this life interesting.
But the question still remains, “How do I find my passion?” If you have taken the time to think about what you enjoyed as a kid, what you enjoy now, and you still don’t feel confident in your answers, I found some other questions to ask yourself that might help.
One I found particularly interesting came from TheEveryGirl, an online resource of blog posts and articles regarding many aspects of living. I had never heard of this website before, perhaps I’m behind in the times, but it seems interesting. The post I am referring to from this site is called “How to Find Your Passion as an Adult (and Why It’s So Important)”. Wonderful. The author tells her story of discovering her passion, including what questions she asked herself. One struck me as telling, which was, “When do I forget to look at my phone?” In a world where we are constantly attached to our devices, I thought this was a great way to determine activities that draw us in completely. Another one was “What would I do if money didn’t matter?” Honestly, that one could have so many broad answers that it may not be entirely helpful but hey, ask yourself anyway and see if you start noticing any trends.
And for the last article I found quite helpful comes from The Telegraph, called “Eight ways to find the true passion in life that has eluded you.” Many of their questions we have already discussed but there were two I found most compelling. One was “Work out what you hate doing” and the other “Find the things you are mediocre at.” Now these are interesting ways to look at things. If you rule out the stuff you hate, you can find trends in there of things to avoid. Maybe it’s cleaning, dealing with money, interacting with people, or sitting still for too long. And for mediocre talents, the article quoted Oliver Emberton who founded Silktide, a software start-up, about his suggestion of fusing together your mediocre talents. He said, “Say you’re an average artist, with a decent sense of humor...You won’t have much hope with an art degree, and you can’t study ‘humour’ as a subject. But you could be an awesome cartoonist. ...They are a fusion of skills, often not even exceptional skills, but they’ve made their fusion exceptional. Steve Jobs was not the world’s greatest engineer, salesperson, designer or businessman. But he was uniquely good enough at all of these things, and wove them together into something far greater.” Emberton has a point. If you are able to combine things you enjoy doing but aren’t great at, you have the opportunity to create something uniquely yours.
For example, I am really good at talking and enjoy learning new skills such as editing audio files. So I started the podcast. And since I’m good at talking and being entertaining in my reactions to things but not terribly great at video games, I started streaming. While these things are not super successful yet, I am enjoying the time growing these ventures and see what happens down the road. Honestly I think that’s the last point we need to make here: You won’t be great at your new passions in the beginning and you almost certainly won’t find success immediately. The Telegraph article had a strange point I personally didn’t completely agree with regarding being successful in your passion. They wrote,
“According to Emberton, the secret to finding your passion is to create something new. He argues that people are instantly passionate about projects, businesses or services that they start from scratch.
‘When you create something new, you’re inventing something to be passionate about,’ he explains. ‘Whether you design novelty cushions, or write Batman stories, or start a Twitter account dedicated to fact-checking politicians.’
“However, success is key to finding one’s true passion, he warns. ‘If your new Twitter account only has five followers after a year, you probably won’t be too passionate about it,’ he says. ‘If you had 5m, you’d have quit your job. You must find success to fuel your passion.’”
On one hand, yes, you do need to find some form of success to fuel your passion. I agree with that point. However, that success doesn’t need to look like fame or riches. If you set an idea of what success looks like for you, if that’s creating something new that brings you joy, or making presents that other people can enjoy, or writing a certain amount of words, whatever that is, that is your success. Now if you do want your success to look like fame or riches, then great! Go for it! But that doesn’t have to be your success marker.
Finding your passion is not the easiest thing to do, but at the same time, it can be one of the easier things you do. It is after all your passion. It comes from your interests, it comes from inside of you. And you won’t find it if you don’t try these things, if you don’t take the time to actually search for it. So I encourage you to do that this year with me. Take the time to find out what you are passionate about!
Thanks for listening to this episode today. In the future I want to delve deeper into what it looks like starting out a new passion, finding communities within your chosen subject, and how that can help. There are so many things to investigate here, I am excited to go on this journey with you! If you are starting out on a venture into newly discovered or rediscovered passions or you want to share your journey into pursuing such things, please share them with me! I want to hear about your experiences and would love to incorporate that into future episodes. We’ve got an email, firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet at us @joybingepodcast or visit our Facebook page and Instagram account. TELL ME THE GOOD STUFF!
The music for this podcast is "Industrious Ferret" by Kevin MacLeod. Thanks for listening and have an excellent week!